On September 22, the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced that it will be closing I-295 over Veranda Street in Portland for a full weekend to accommodate the replacement of an aging interstate bridge. MaineDOT’s “Veranda Plan” – a full closure of the highway around Exit 9 – will run from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22 to 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 25. Additionally, Route 1/Veranda Street (under the bridge) will be closed for a full week – from 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18 to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 25.
This work is expected to increase traffic on the Maine Turnpike and on local roads in Portland and Falmouth. MaineDOT is asking members of the public to avoid this area during the interstate closure weekend. Drivers who must travel on I-295 through Portland or on Route 1/Veranda Street in Portland and Falmouth are encouraged to make their own “Veranda Plan.” Detour routes are available by visiting www.verandaplan.org. That site also includes live video feeds of the construction site, an FAQ section, and a link to pre-register for a live virtual meeting on October 5th that will include project updates and a question-and-answer period.
The Veranda Street bridge is 60 years old and needs to be replaced. This project also involves a reconfiguration of Route 1/Veranda Street to improve mobility and safety. Crews are constructing the new bridge on the east side of the existing bridge and then a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) will be used to move the new structure into place during the 64- hour interstate closure. SPMTs are used to transport massive objects that can’t be moved by trucks. Most notably, NASA uses SPMTs to move space shuttle components. This is the first time MaineDOT is using an SPMT. This accelerated bridge construction process will greatly reduce the long-term traffic impacts that would have occurred if conventional construction had been used.
The contract for construction of this project, awarded to Cianbro in November of 2020, is $18.1 million. The total project cost (including engineering, inspection, and other costs) is approximately $20.8 million. Construction of the project started in March and the weekend for the interstate closure was selected in May. MaineDOT aims to have the project finished by the end of 2022.
Details are available online at www.verandaplan.org. For more information, please contact Paul Merrill, director of communications at the Maine Department of Transportation by calling or texting (207) 215-9297 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.